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Neurobiol Aging. 1995 May-Jun;16(3):487-90; discussion 490-2.

Mice overexpressing the human neurofilament heavy gene as a model of ALS.

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Centre for Research in Neuroscience, McGill University, Montreal General Hospital Research Institute, Canada.


We discuss the evidence, based on the analysis of transgenic mice overexpressing the human neurofilament (NF) heavy gene, that abnormal NF accumulations can provoke neurodegeneration of motor neurons. Transgenic mice overexpressing by two-fold the normal levels of human NF-H proteins develop a progressive motor neuron disease with several pathologic features reminiscent of those found in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A plausible mechanism for the selective motor neuron degeneration is that exceeding levels of NF-H cross-linkages impede transport of newly synthesized NF structures. The abnormal NF accumulations in perikarya and proximal axons is accompanied by a disruption in axonal transport of not only NF proteins but also of other components required for maintenance of axons. The relevance of the NF-H transgenics as a model of ALS is discussed in light of our current knowledge of motor neuron disease.

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